Law-enforcement personnel and other officials will gather in Dunnigan on Friday to dedicate the Interstate 5 rest area there in honor of slain Yolo County Sheriff’s Deputy Jose “Tony” Diaz.
The ceremony begins at 10 a.m. at the rest area, located between County Line Road and County Line 6, not far from where Diaz, 37, was fatally shot on June 15, 2008, following a high-speed pursuit of a suspected drunken driver. Marco Topete later was convicted and sentenced to the death penalty.
Among those who will dedicate the rest area will be Sheriff Ed Prieto and Assemblywoman Mariko Yamada, who introduced an Assembly resolution authorizing the construction of two signs bearing Diaz’s name.
Funded by private donations raised by the slain deputy’s family, friends and colleagues, the signs will be unveiled during Friday’s dedication.
“Five years have passed since Deputy Diaz gave his life to protect the safety of Yolo County residents,” said Yamada, D-Davis. “I wish to thank the Yolo County Sheriff’s Office for helping make this memorial a reality, and to recognize the honor Tony brought to his badge and his profession.”
Diaz, who was raised in Dixon and joined the Yolo County Sheriff’s Department in 2004, is remembered by his peers as a gentle, hard-working man who was proud of his community and his three daughters, sheriff’s officials noted.
“Tony is in our thoughts daily as we see his picture throughout our office,” Prieto said. “Now the motoring public and citizens of the Dunnigan area will have a memorial to remind them of the sacrifice that Tony gave while doing something he loved — protecting our community. This is an awesome tribute to one of our fallen heroes.”